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Spring Cleaning and Planning

Confronted with unexpected free time, I considered crawling back into bed and cuddling my cat, but instead I got out my broom and tidied my porch. Well, actually, first there was emptying last year’s pots back into the container of dirt; mixing the completed compost into that container, too; moving all the containers and plant stands to one end of the porch; sweeping half the porch; piling the containers of dirt (compost one on bottom) in the corner of the porch and arranging the plant stands; getting together all of the trash hanging out on the porch (broken glass from when the roofers were by (not my window), broken flower pot, cover to the plant shelves that got broken by the roofers, etc.); and finally, sweeping the other half of the porch.


And then I got to eat breakfast sitting out in the sunshine on my re-happied porch. That’s totally a word.

Now I have to plan what I’ll grow this summer –

Not tomatoes. The squirrels won that war.
Same goes for lettuce, sadly. Well, at least not in a convenient container… maybe on one of the more tricky plant stands.

Though at the very end of Fall, we had a visit from a hawk or a falcon-type bird (I just saw it out of the corner of my eye as it flew by) that put a dent in the squirrel population, so maybe that’ll help.

I think my biggest plant this year will be a hot pepper plant – so there, squirrel bastards!

So I have 3 stands:
the first one will hold 6 3″ pots
the second – 6 4″ pots (but the bottom three are very low and get a bit blocked on sunlight)
the third – 4 larger pots (haven’t tried to see how big will fit and be stable – I might just do 4″ here, too)

2 parsley (4″)
2 thyme (3″)
rosemary (still live one from last year in 3″, 2 new in 4″)
1 dill (3″)
1 fennel (4″)
1 basil (3″)
1 thai basil (3″)
1 sage (3″)

Not Herbs:
1 hot pepper plant (first choice = serrano, but this one seems a good bet for a smaller container) – largest pot

So what am I missing? What would grow well in a 4″ pot but not look irresistible to a squirrel?

(I’m planning this so late because I don’t really have room inside my tiny apartment to start things from seeds – though I will try starting a few seeds late now that it’s almost warm enough to have them outside)

Another food list

So I still haven’t emptied much from my freezer, but I did acquire more food when I was home this weekend. Therefore, more planning.

food I have
1 potato
3 grapefruits
jalepeno peppers
[broccoli leftovers]

scallion cream cheese (1/2 – 1 bagel-worth)
a little whole milk
a little heavy cream
*plenty of cream cheese*

chicken stock
a lot of ham
pork shank leftovers

curry leftovers
1/2 blackberry pie
1 slice coconut cake

meal planning

Monday, March 24
skim fat from potato soup in process, mash a bit, season, and cook more
make 1/4c rice to package up curry into lunch
dinner: eat leftover broccoli & pork shank

Tuesday, March 25
7am – Pilates?
breakfast: coconut cake & grapefruit
adjust soup
buy bread
dinner: soup & bread

Wednesday, March 26
breakfast: bagel & scallion cream cheese
dinner: soup & ham sandwich

Thursday, March 27
breakfast: blackberry pie & grapefuit
pull out pork roast & stuffed cabbage to thaw
buy tomato sauce
dinner: soup & ham sandwich

Friday, March 28
8:30am – workshop
breakfast & lunch: included
dinner: with D&D peoples

Saturday, March 29
Can I adjust the oven racks so that I can roast the pork and cabbage rolls at the same time?
Cabbage rolls -> packaged straight to lunch portions
Pork – How do I want to make it? Do I want to have a marinade while it thaws?

Sunday, March 30
12:30 – astronomy lecture & star wars tour @ Franklin Institute
dinner with parents – Shula’s or Sang Kee

That’s still not putting a dent in the freezer, but it’s a whole week without buying anything except a fancy loaf of bread and possibly cereal, since I’m out and there’s a sale.

food list

I need to make room in my freezer, so this’ll be a more long term food list than usual.

Also, I need to use up more food in the next couple months because I have a gift certificate to the local grocery store, but I have to use it all in one go and I’ve gotten used to a lot of little trips instead of one big one.

Food I have

2 onions
3 lbs russet potatoes
no garlic!
1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 bunch (3) beets w/ greens
1/3 bag baby carrots
1 white coconut
1 pt coconut water from another coconut (so half the total)

Meat – fridge
a lot (2 1/2 lbs?) of ham
chicken stock
1/4 pound of bacon

Meat – freezer
stock (in cubes)
gravy (in cubes)
8-ish chicken breasts (frozen in packets of 1 or 2)
2 thick pork chops
1 hamburger patty made from ground turkey
bag of small turkey meatballs
bag of mini italian-flavored turkey meatballs
several links of turkey sausage
1/2 pkg kosher hot dogs (and possibly another whole one buried in the depths)
1 mystery steak (beef? pork? It was hard to tell with the last one I cooked)
cubed raw pork
cubes of pork roast
1 beef roast (saving for Roman cooking workshop)
2-3 pork tenderloin roasts
1-3 packages of meat (beef? pork?) cut thin for stir fry
1 bag of chicken parts for stock – enough for 1 batch

qt whole milk
a little bit of heavy cream
scallion cream cheese
single-serve flavored yogurts
2 packages of cheddar cheese

starch – in fridge
rice (plain white, basmati, sticky)
flour (bread, wheat, rye)
1 pie crust
2 packages tortillas

Miscellaneous things in freezer
pecan halves
2 cubes of mom’s vegetable soup
phyllo dough
package of rolls that would make a good stuffing or soup ingredient
cubes of elderberry concentrate with wine and stuff
bag of onion peels and things for stock
rolls of stuffed cabbage (from mother)
bag of blackberries

turning that into food
Tuesday, March 18
potatoes, ham, onion, beets

Wednesday, March 19
start a potato & ham soup – 3/24/08
eat: broccoli rabe sauteed with mini meatballs with pasta sauce over spaghetti

Thursday, March 20
buy crusty bread – eat soup

Friday, March 21
soup again.
pull out a pork roast to thaw

Saturday, March 22
@ parents’ – give mom any soup that’s left

Sunday, March 23
Do something with the coconut! (Thai soup? African stew?)
roast pork

Week of March 24-28
alternate between soup and sandwiches made from the roast pork or the ham leftovers

Broccoli Rabe

There was lovely looking broccoli rabe at my produce truck this week, so I got a bunch. Now – a bunch is enough for two meals for me. Here’s the first meal planned out:

wash broccoli rabe and cut into 2-3 inch lengths. Blanch. Drain.

Saute in olive oil a whole bunch of garlic until it starts to brown. Add broccoli rabe.

In a flat pan, warm up a tortilla. Flip it over. Add some shredded sharp cheddar cheese, a tablespoon or two of the last of the carnitas I have in my fridge, and a spoonful or so of cooked broccoli rabe… some more cheese, fold over the tortilla – viola quesadilla.

And then over the weekend, I bought 5 pounds of potatoes for a dollar and acquired half a (cooked/smoked) ham from my mother.

Second meal:

Dice 2 potatoes (there were the size of a small fist each) and 8 baby carrots. Sautee in olive oil.

Roughly dice 1 medium onion. Throw that in, too.

Dice some ham… no idea how much… about as much by volume as there was potato, maybe less.

At this point, I seasoned the potatoes – salt, pepper, ground thyme, ground oregano, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, few dashes hot paprika.

Add ham. Keep cooking.

Rinsed the broccoli rabe, shook it dry, and then bundled it back up in its twist tie and just cut across into inch “strips” or so. Turned it into a nice chop.

Tossed that over top and let it steam a bit before stirring it in and cooking it with the rest.

Then I tasted it, and decided it would benefit from a pinch of ground cloves. And a little more salt.

I put up half into a container in the freezer for lunch, and the rest was very yummy.

Today, I went out and bought beets, so I think I’ll make the same dish again tonight (since I have a lot of potatoes and ham to get through, and soup might be coming next) only with beets instead of carrots and beet tops instead of the broccoli rabe.

Note on cloves: buying ground cloves is always a bit sad since the packet will quickly stink up (though in a nice way) the entire spice cabinet and then by the time you actually get around to needing the cloves all the flavor has seeped away. Therefore – I buy whole cloves and mostly just stick the whole things into stuff (roasts, or chucked into soups/stews/curries and fished out later). But when you really do want it ground and you aren’t making a whole spice mix where it’s worth the time to bring out (and clean) the mortar and pestle (mine’s heavy) – you can just pop off the little round bit at the top and crumble it by hand – and then put the stem back in the jar to be stuck into stuff later.